Reviews are one of the top factors influencing a shopper’s decision to make a purchase. And as it turns out, consumers have started to depend on reviews even more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our own analysis found that throughout March and April, consumers engaged with reviews prior to making a purchase at double the rate they were previously.
Thanks to widespread stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures, more consumers are shopping online. And clearly, reviews help them make informed purchase decisions.
Of course, reviews benefit brands, too. Reviews are proven to boost traffic and conversion, while providing actionable insights that can help a brand improve its products and the customer experience.
Reviews also give brands the opportunity to engage with shoppers and resolve customer service issues, which foster loyalty and contributes to a strong reputation.
In order to reap these benefits, though, brands must closely monitor their review content. All too often, this is a time-consuming process — and one that’s inherently flawed. Content slips through the cracks, which can tarnish trust. And because data is often siloed, a brand never gets a complete, accurate picture of how they are (or aren’t) meeting consumers’ needs.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Review consolidation — the process of aggregating all review content across channels into one dashboard — can ease the burden and make it easier to manage your brand’s online reputation.
Let’s take a closer look at where shoppers are reading and writing reviews, how review consolidation works and how it can positively impact your business.
Where Shoppers Write Reviews
Before exploring the mechanics of review consolidation, it’s important to understand the burden of manually managing reviews. And the best place to start is to take a look at where shoppers are writing and reading reviews.
Most brands sell their products through a number of different channels. For example, a health and beauty brand might sell a moisturizer directly through its own eCommerce website, through a network of retail partners (e.g. Target, Walmart etc.) and on eCommerce marketplaces, such as Amazon. Of course, shoppers can write products reviews on any of the sites where the item is sold.
To further complicate things, shoppers can also write reviews about a store location, website, mobile app or the business itself on other platforms and channels.
For some brands, managing this content means someone logging into a dozen or more dashboards each day, determining which content needs action and manually assigning it to the appropriate person or team to handle. In order to respond to a review, they have to log back in to the appropriate dashboard.
This process is inefficient and leaves a lot of room for error.
How Review Consolidation Works
Recently, however, a growing number of brands have started to use review consolidation technology. Review consolidation technology centralizes reviews written across all of the channels mentioned above into a single dashboard. That means a brand uses one dashboard to see reviews, engage with and respond to them and escalate them to the right team — regardless of where the review was written.
Some review consolidation tools connect with a CRM like Salesforce to automatically create services cases and alerts, based on keywords or the star rating. Brands that also use Salesforce Service Cloud can see and manage all customer service issues in one spot, regardless of whether the issue originates from chat, email, social media, phone or a review.
5 Ways Review Consolidation Benefits Brands
Before investing in review consolidation technology, it’s important to understand how it can help your brand foster authentic engagement and boost your bottom line.
Let’s take a look at five key ways review consolidation positively impacts brands.
1. Saves Time
The most obvious benefit of review consolidation is that it saves time. Your customer care or marketing teams are no longer required to comb through various sites each day in order to effectively manage reviews.
Instead, these teams can focus their time and energy on activities that will build your brand’s online reputation and drive revenue growth. Customer service teams can focus on engaging with shoppers. And marketing teams can spend their time developing strategies and campaigns to attract and retain customers.
2. Provides a Holistic Picture of Performance
Reviews are a gold mine of insights that can be used to help your brand better serve its customers. But if you’re managing reviews from several different platforms, it can be difficult to garner those insights. Each platform reports on different metrics, and data is siloed.
Let’s go back to the moisturizer example we used earlier. You notice the average star rating for the moisturizer is high on your own eCommerce website. But the average star rating is significantly lower on Amazon. You’re getting little bits and pieces of data here — but what’s the full story?
When you consolidate your reviews into a single platform, you get a more comprehensive look at how a particular product — and your brand as a whole — are performing across all channels. You’re better able to identify strengths and weaknesses and understand overall sentiment for each product. And you can see how this performance changes over time.
With comprehensive insights, you’re better equipped to make smart, data-based decisions for your business. For example, if that moisturizer generates one- and two-star reviews across all channels, you can dig deeper to identify ways to improve it — or pull the product altogether.
3. Allows for Quick Resolution of Customer Service Issues
Many times, a negative review simply reflects the tastes and preferences of a specific consumer. For example, a reviewer might indicate they don’t like the taste or texture of a protein bar. But in other cases, a negative review can be indicative of a larger issue that needs to be addressed and resolved. For example, if a review indicated a shopper got violently ill after eating the protein bar.
If you manually manage your reviews, it’s likely some of this negative content will slip through the cracks. And this can carry some big consequences for your brand’s reputation. For starters, you’ll have an angry customer with an unresolved issue that’s likely to ditch your brand altogether. A survey from Gladly found that half of people will switch brands after just one or two bad experiences.
And future shoppers will see the unresolved issue, which is likely to deter them from purchasing your products. What’s more, highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals must follow FDA guidelines on handling complaints in reviews. If they don’t, they risk fines and a damaged reputation.
With review consolidation technology, all of your content is in one place so you don’t have to worry about missing a critical review. What’s more, if you also use review consolidation technology and Salesforce Service Cloud, all of your customer service cases are available in one location, regardless of whether they were initiated through a review or another channel like email or chat.
Plus, issues get automatically routed to the right person based on factors like keyword or star rating, so they can be resolved quickly. Shoppers will see that you care about their concerns, and you’ll build a reputation as a compliant brand that listens to its customers.
4. Uncovers Opportunities for Authentic Engagement with Shoppers
Of course, it’s important to resolve issues that come up in negative reviews. But positive reviews also offer opportunities for brands to authentically engage with shoppers. Even a simple “Thanks for your feedback. We love having you as a customer!” can go a long way in fostering loyalty.
Review consolidation makes it easier to identify these opportunities for engagement. Your teams can see all reviews — and respond to them — through one platform. And because they’re not spending their time manually routing reviews, they can focus on building authentic connections with shoppers.
5. Facilitates Strong Partnerships with Retail Partners
If you’re like most brands, you sell your products through a network of retail partners. If so, you’re well aware that good brand/retailer relationships are key to mutual success.
Of course, retailers want to partner with brands that manufacture quality products. But they also want to work with brands that take good care of their customers — even when something goes wrong. One key way retailers measure this is by how quickly a brand responds to customer service issues. If you habitually fail to respond quickly (or at all) to issues that are raised in reviews, a retailer may opt to partner with a different brand…and you may lose an important channel for revenue.
With review consolidation technology, you don’t have to worry about missing a review and failing to respond per your agreed upon service level agreement (SLA). Instead, retailers will see that you’re a dependable brand that cares about its customers.
Consolidate Reviews to Grow Your Brand
Ratings and reviews are beneficial to consumers and brands alike. But brands must effectively manage their reviews in order to experience the benefits. Consolidating all reviews into one platform makes it easier for brands to engage with shoppers, build trust, and grow revenue.
This blog was originally published by our partner, Reputation Studio, which offers review consolidation capabilities to PowerReviews customers. Visit the dedicated section of our website to find out more about the complementary technologies our solutions integrate with. Alternatively, reach out to us direct.